Adidas Adizero SL: It offers an elite feel at a more wallet-friendly price - and we put it to the test

<span class="caption">Adidas Adizero SL: Tried and tested</span>
Adidas Adizero SL: Tried and tested

The shoe

The Adizero SL belong in Adidas’ Adizero elite-level franchise (think: Adizero Adios Pro 1, 2 and 3, Adizero Boston 11 and the Adizero Prime X...) – which means this shoe is designed to be fast. But they are also designed to be an affordable option, and as such they don't have some of the premium features like a carbon plate, which means they may be more of a high end training shoe rather than a racer for some runners.

At just £110 they are certainly at the lower end price-wise for a performance shoe – but don’t let the affordable price fool you into thinking they’re no good. The Adizero SL has been developed, designed and packed with some of the exact same ground-breaking technology in the Adizero franchise – such as Lightstrike Pro foam and a lightweight Lightstrike EVA midsole. All this makes the Adizero SL an elite-level shoe, but at a fraction of the price.

What is the Adizero SL like to run in?

Lightweight, responsive, bouncy – there are lots of things to like about the Adizero SL feel. We tested the Adizero during interval sessions (200m hard, 200m easy x 10, for example) and tempo runs – including a fast 5k parkrun attempt. Even though they have an 8.5 mm heel-to-toe drop, they do feel quite low to the ground – perhaps because they differ from the current plush maximalist trend that many trainers seem to be following – but they also feel fast, and we rated them for tempo-paced training runs on the road and track.

Unlike the top end racing shoes, however, there’s no carbon plate in the Adizero SL – so they’re not designed for race day in the same way as the Adizero Boston or Adios are. Instead, the speed comes through the Lightstrike Pro foam technology – which is deliberately positioned in the forefoot area, to help propel you forwards and provide a firmer, fast-feeling toe-off.

Like the Boston and Adios, the SL also has a lightweight Lightstrike EVA midsole frame for a more stable, peppy ride.

How does the Adizero SL fit?

Similar to a lot of the shoes in the Adizero range, these are on the narrow side, so expect a snug fit. We recommend sizing up a whole size here, to make sure you have enough wiggle room in the toe box, especially if you have wide feet. We had pins and needles in our toes for the last 10-15 minutes wearing these, and regretted only sizing up by half a size.

The mesh upper and padded tongue - which lies nice and flat - does give your foot a seriously locked-in feel, which is ideal for any high-speed runs, and there was no heel slippage either.

RW verdict

For only £110 these are a go-to shoe for those who want to run fast, but without a big financial outlay. We love the bright mint green colour – they definitely stand out from the crowd – although when testing these at parkrun, another runner did comment on how ‘loud’ and ‘lairy’ they looked, so we appreciate the bold mint green isn’t for everyone (they do also come in a scarlet red and a black colourway).

You can definitely race in the Adizero SL’s, but if you’re aiming on running a fast PB-setting marathon, then perhaps consider saving up for the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 (a cushioned carbon-plated competition shoe), and save the SL’s for serious training sessions instead.

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